There is Hope for Anyone

 In Stories of Hope

I guess my story starts in a shack down on the river over 50 years ago.

My father bought this house with land for $500. I remember if you dropped something you had to hurry and catch it otherwise it would fall through the cracks in the floors. I remember many mornings waking up with the sun hitting me in the eyes where it was shining through the cracks in the walls. I remember several times snakes getting in the house or trying to get in the house. I remember mother fighting a huge rattlesnake one night with a shovel that was coming in.

Until I was in my late teens, almost nightly, I had nightmares snakes were all over my bed. I would lay in the bed and stare at the ceiling afraid to move my head because I was convinced that they were on the bed. Sometimes mother would come in and reassure me. I had sleeping issues because of this for years. We had no water and we had no plumbing and we had no bathroom. We had an old wood heater in the living room that was used to heat the house and boil water on.

My parents were orphans. We were very poor. It wasn’t like it is now days when you had some family member you could get money from if you needed something. Back then if we didn’t have it we didn’t get it. And it was often we didn’t have it. I remember every year before school started I would get 3 new pair of pants and one new pair of shoes. If I tore them up I wore them anyway. One time the first time I wore a pair to school I tore the knee out. My mother cried and cried. Then she ironed some patches on and I wore them rest of the year. By the time school was out everything I had was covered in those iron on patches. I remember many times wearing the bottoms out of my shoes and put socks in the bottom and tape patched around it. Mother did the best she could to keep as fed and clothed and she sewed a lot of my clothes but we still went out dressed in torn and ripped up clothes and shoes.

All the way up to the age of 14 I really have no memories of my childhood at all except for negative times.  We had a wood burning stove in the living room that we boiled water on to put in a bath tub that we had in the kitchen and we pour that water in the bathtub and that’s where we would take our bath. I remember I was a few years old four maybe five mother was boiling water for a bath She was getting ready to remove the water from the heater and she turned around and my brother had walked up to her and she spilled the tub of boiling water on my brother. I was too young to know what was going on. But I knew it was bad. I knew he stayed gone from home a long time. I knew they had a big celebration the day they brought him home on a pillow from the hospital sitting on a pillow. I know now he almost died. We to this day have never talked of this again. Our family stuffed things and never talked about them. We did not tell each other we loved them.

The next memory I have I guess is I had an aunt Mary that I love dearly. She would spend so much time with me. She would be so good to me and always had a smile on her face. I would go to her house and stay. I remember the day me and mother was in the living room when I got the call that at 26 years old Mary had died. I was devastated. It was such a sad time.

I guess the next thing I remember is the day we got the call or saw on TV that John F Kennedy had been shot. My mother cried and cried and cried. I didn’t understand but I knew it was bad. Remember it like it was yesterday.

I remember the night it was getting dark A=and it was snowing really, really hard outside. Thundering and lightning.  My dad hadn’t came home from work yet. Lightning struck the transformer out in the front and it caught on fire. And the power went out. I remember mother praying for Daddy to come home. And crying and crying. And he didn’t come. I was actually a little while later before he came home. 3 or 4 days.

Daddy had a drinking problem. Lots of times he didn’t make it home from work. Him and mother fought often. I remember the fights. The yelling and hollering . Mother throwing thing at him. He would always leave.  Mother most always wound up crying.

Daddy was always disciplining us. He would go out to the big bush out front and look for a limb that would be the size of his thumb. He would make us watch him strip it down with his pocket knife. Sometimes I would bleed. Sometimes mother would come out begging him to quit. All the teachers at school knew Daddy. They would go by his place of employment on their way home from school. I was constantly getting threatened that they were going to stop and tell my Daddy whatever they didn’t like.  A few times they did. I would get a beating.  If somebody told daddy I did something I got a beating whether I did it or not. Mother did this too. She would threaten us the same way. Me being the oldest I always got it worse. I never thought anybody knew. Thinking back now I think they all knew. This is why my aunts always getting me to stay with them.

The only positive thing I remember of my childhood was my playing sports. I was a good baseball player. I made All-Stars every year I ever played. I remember the most important thing to my Daddy every year was making sure I got registered to play ball. And the most devastating thing I remember is that he did not come to the games. My mother always had to find a way for me to get there.

This is pretty much the story of my childhood. It was not that great. I remember no happy times. I was always alone. I would play from daylight to dark by myself. l would walk miles and miles back in the woods. I would leave out in the morning and come home near dark. I loved those woods. We had a field by us that was always covered in sage grass. On cold sunny days I would make me a place to lay down and just lay there for hours and daydream. I could always entertain myself.

I got a job pumping gas after school and on weekends at 12.  When I was about 14 or 15 years old I had managed to work at the store after school long enough to get me money to buy me a motorcycle. I rode that motorcycle everywhere. Then shortly thereafter my parents decided to move. I was going to be uprooted and have to go to a new school. For some reason I was terrified of this. I think it was my super shyness. Up until my late teens I could hardly look at people face to face because of my shyness. It played a huge roll in my education.  I would take an F before I spoke out in class.  My mother and Daddy somehow another figured it out that I could ride my motorcycle to the old school and work after school and come home. This was probably one of the worst mistakes of my life. I had absolutely no structure. I could do whatever I wanted to. And had nobody to answer to. None of the other kids had this.

But it was at this same time I got introduced to drugs. Back then you went so far up in the woods to do drugs that you’d be lucky if you could get out. You clean your car out after. Everybody would get out of the car and clean and wipe and wash it down. Not like it is now a days. I enjoyed doing drugs. A lot. It gave me a sense of security. I would come out of my shell I had always been in. No more shyness. I was bulletproof.  But I couldn’t figure out how to get as much as I wanted. Then as I worked at the store I finally realize pumping gas that I could pay for some of the gas and I could put some of the gas money in my pocket. And oddly enough nobody ever caught on. I kept getting more and more and more gas money. It wasn’t long I could afford all the drugs I want it. I had friends from everywhere. At my age (16) to be able to get all these drugs I was a super friend. People wanted to be around me. The older kids looked for me. I loved it. I was a big dog.

During these early years I kept my drug use in check. I just enjoyed the party. It wasn’t the drugs, it was the party atmosphere. I did this for the next 19 years. I would go to school and I would have drugs and alcohol with me in class. Numerous times I passed out in class. And nobody ever once mentioned I had a problem or try to help me. They let me do whatever I wanted to do. That has been the story of my life. I still managed to graduate with an advanced academic diploma and putting absolutely zero effort in. I never dated in school. Scared to death of thinking I wasn’t good enough for the girls.  I was poor and none of them were poor. I had a teacher tell me she had a girl that wanted to go to the prom with me and if I would go she would give me an A. When she told me who I remember trembling. No way she would go with me. She chased me for a long time but I wasn’t about to get caught.

After I got out of school I ran away from home. Got an apartment with my cousin. Didn’t see my family for 6 months. I ran wild during this time. Met a girl and got involved. We broke up after a few months. Got a call at work one day from her Daddy telling me she was pregnant. He lived in Arkansas. I said no way that is mine. I was scared to death. Disrespected her. She was on the other line. I remember her breaking down crying and they hung up. I came to know I had a son I have never met. But my heart longs so much to know. I have searched for info on them for years and years. It was like they disappeared. I have recently became aware they were right here all the time. I even found a picture. Very emotional situation that I just have to stay out of.

Shortly after this I met my first wife  and we got married and had a beautiful daughter. But I was never at home to see my daughter grow up. I had to party every night.The more I did it the more and more serious it got. After 10 years my wife and I finally had enough and she left me. I was devastated. I was crushed. It took me 2 years to get over this.I never really had anybody to turn to for help. Always knew I needed help. Numerous times i would cry out for help. I hated myself. I was miserable. I didn’t have anybody to help me. All I ever got was you just got to quit. I would sometimes be high and sit by myself and cry for hours.

I only ever had three friends in my life. We were all a team. My first friend I met when we moved to Adamsville. I was big and he was little. I don’t think he was even 5′ tall. We were a team. We did everything together. But was a serious diabetic. His doctors kept telling him he had to quit the partying or he would die. He would try but I wouldn’t let him. I would come by partying all the time. He would tell me no and I would be there the next day. He always caved in to me. I don’t know how much what I did had to do with his death or not. It wasn’t long he was in a diabetic coma and died. I did not even go to the funeral. Off being high.

I had another friend on the team that I was super close to. We did everything together too. But for some reason he idolized me. He went in the service and had to go to Korea. On his trips home he could only bring a few things with him. He always brought things for me. And we would party til he left. He would have done anything in the world for me. He would give his life for me. I had a girlfriend at this time and I wasn’t treating her very good. We would drink together and party together. That’s about it. One night him and her had a conversation about something and I was drunk and acted up and got stupid and threatened him. We had never had a disagreement in our life. We didn’t speak for a little while by the end of the week he had committed suicide.To this day I still think it’s my fault. And again I was too sorry to go to the funeral.

The other friend was just as close. We had a disageement over drugs. It lasted a while. He began telling people he wanted to fight me. I loved him. I didn’t want to fight him. One night a group of us were hanging out in a parking lot by the service station. He pulled up to get gas. He walked in the store and back out to his car starring at me the whole way. After he left my buddies started ribbing me. I was high. So I was like ok. I called and told him if he wanted to fight come back. He came sliding in the parking lot sideways. Jumped out and we went to fighting. I beat him so bad he stayed in the hospital for a long time. To this day I will have spells of extreme guilt over this. I can’t let it go.

And to make matters worse I was getting help for drugs. I would go to meeiings. I had heard he had gotten on crack real bad. One night at a meeting he came walking in. He saw me and left. I never saw him at a meeting again. I might have caused him the chance he needed to get clean.

These were my friends and we were a team and they were gone. I have never made friends with a man since. After this my partying got out of control. It got really bad. You might be able to find me at a bar in any state in the southeast. With anybody. And by myself. I remember one night in Pratt City several of us were partying and one for the guys just dropped to the floor. We dragged him over to the corner and forgot about him. People came and went. Later somebody came in and said they thought he was dead. Sure enought he was. We flew out of there.

I remember one night in despsration stopping at an abandoned service station and getting some old rusty water to use to shoot up some dilaudid. I mean this water was nasty. I remember the night me and my friend got ripped off on some coke at a crack house. We were high and got angry. We went and got his truck and a shotgun. We were going back. He pulled up. Put it in reverse. Went flying up the driveway backards. Hit the porch so hard it about knocked the house off its base. I jumped out with the shotgun on the porch. A guy stepped out wondering what happened and I busted him in the face with the shotgun. We we’re in a rage. We took over the shot house with about 15 people in it. 2 white boys took over a shot house and lived. We were going to load up their Rockola jukebox. The guy bgged us not to take it. Said he would get killed. We told him to make it right or we were taking it. He did. About a year later I ran into him and a few of his buddies in a hamburger joint. I thought I was in deep trouble. He laughed at me and shook my hand. Told his buddies heres that crazy white MF I told you all about. We ended up doing drugs outside in the parking lot.

I have been shot at on 3 occasons. I have shot at on 2 occasons. I was in a house in Airport Hills one night and a guy came in with a machine gun. He didn’t say anything. A few people spoke to him but he just turned and walked off. Pacing the floor. A little later he stepped outside and I asked one of the guys what was wrong with him. He said he don’t like it because you are here. He wants to kill you. Don’t say anything to him. I said ok.

I was probably one of the only few people to ever pull a drug heist at the county sheriff’s office property room. I had bought some high dollar stereo equipment that was stolen. I got turned in and they came out and confiscated it. They also took my personal speakers too. I decided after a while to see if I could get mine back. They said sure. Later on I stopped by to get them. Nobody was there. I went back later and still nobody was there. Finally I got somebody {these were all detectives}. He said you will have to come back and show them to me. They probably aren’t marked. So we went back and I was in awe looking at all the drugs and guns and stuff. I picked out my speakers and left. But I had made notes. Several trips, nobody there, and it wasn’t locked. Me and my little buddy started talking. We would be high and ride by there. Sit and stake it out. I said this will be easy. Still couldn’t find the nerve. Finally one day night I did. We watched it for hours. Nobody was there. Finally a guy came in. Stayed about 5 minutes and left. I said ok, here goes. I snuck up through the bushes. Adrenaline through the roof. Paused for a while. Finally I went to t he door. It opened and I was in. Walked to the room and turned the knob. It opened. I grabbed a bag and hit the door. Turned out it had over 5 pounds of pot in it. Never heard a word from it. Considered  it again many times but never got the nerve again.

I had people many times when I was high tell me I looked like the devil. Probably over 10 times. Strangers. I didn’t look like the devil, I was possessed by the devil. I remember my mother telling of how I would be back there asleep and she could feel the demons outside my window trying to get in to me. She wanted so bad to protect me.

I was excellent in total darkness. Late at night. Alone.  Operated like a ghost in the night. I needed the rush. The adrenaline.  The action. The high.

Drug use starts out fun and exciting.  It does not end that way. It ends lonely . Very lonely. The friends are gone. Nobody wants to party with you anymore.  They see you coming and turn away.

I have been in hundreds of bad situations. Hundreds and hundreds really. Bars, shothouses, dope houses. Usually always by myself. I have never received a scratch.  Never received a punch or a threat. God had a plan.

I was like the song I was on the highway to hell. I know I was on the highway to hell. More than once I wound up In different states Not knowing how I got there and who I got there with. Sometime I even missed days at a time that I was blacked out and don’t know where and what I was doing. I stayed in trouble all the time. I counted one time and it best I can remember got arrested 14x. I can’t tell all of the things I have done for respect for some and  might be dangerous to me to reveal. If you say I wonder if he ever did this. I will claim it. The last time I got arrested they threatened to put me in prison for 15 years because of my accumulated arrests. I chose to go to drug treatment. At the time I didn’t recognize it but it would be a turning point in my life.

I was very very angry when I first went again. I hated the world and I want out. But after a couple weeks Something changed. I actually found out what food tasted like again. Gained some weight. I sat in meetings or therapy and never spoke. One day after several weeks I got called out. He said I want you to talk for 5 minutes. You don’t say anything.  Just give me 5 minutes. I talked for 45 minutes.  I said you know what I don’t want t do this no more.I started listening and paying attention.I made a decision to clean my life out. I walked off my job. I got rid of every friend I had. I went home to my family and sat right there with my family until I was safe. My first real rock bottom. But the pain was enough that I had all I could take.

Just before I went in treatment I went out with a girl a few times. Realized I did not like her. Told her no more. As I was getting out of treatment I was informed she was pregnant. I was alone in the world and so lost. No clue where to go or what to do. No plan. No purpose. I said ok I will try this. She had had a miscarriage. Did not tell me.  I still thought she was pregnant. So she was pregnant again before I found out about the miscarriage.  I was furious. I walked out. Didn’t see her again until the day of birth. I showed up at the hospital.  I had a beautiful daughter.  I made a commitment right then to do what I could for her.  I tried to make it work for my daughter but it wasn’t happening. I did not like her mom. I always gave child support and never missed my visitations but her mother was determined to keep me away. I had to carry her to court 5 times over not giving me visitation. I never missed a penny of my support though. I went one time over a year and a half and  two Christmas holidays before I could get her in court. Finally after the 5th time the judge told us to sit down and for me to decide if she was going home or 30 days in jail. It was my decision. She would have sent me to the electric chair for 90 days, but I could not have her locked up. I sent her home. And she never interfered with my visitation again. But by now damage was already done.

So this was how my life after drugs started. I was still lonely and lost. I had to learn how to live. I knew nothing about how to live. I made a vow to God if he would just deliver me from these drugs there was a list of things i would never do again. And I held true to my vow. And he delivered me.

All my adult life I always thought how miserable it must be living clean. But it was better than the pain. So I hung in. Started noticing things like the smell of fresh air and the beauty of flowers. I started going to NA meetings. I found a home here that was crucial to my recovery. About my 3rd meeting I was out back smoking and my treatment counselor came by. She asked me if I wanted to go get coffee. I said sure. It started a sick relationship for about 3 months. It was a mess. Finally I walked off. About 3 or 4 months later I saw a nurse from the treatment center. She said you’re the one who was in the controversy wasn’t you? I said not that I know of. Seems it was a big to do for a counselor to take a patient.  She had got fired and a mess stirred up.

Seems I was always in something no matter how hard I tried. I finally met another counselor at a meeting and we had an 8 year relationship. It was sick as could be but it kept me clean. And for the most part happy. And most important uneventful.

We got along fine but we had serious issues. I did not know how to be in a relationship.  I had never knew of a healthy relationship.  I did not know anything. I had to learn how to love unconditionally . Feelings were there and I did not like it. I did not know what to do. Issues attrack issues. She suffered from anorexia and slashing. We went for a while at the end without being intimate.

I walked by the bathroom one day and the door was opened. She had cut herself from head to waist.  Probably a hundred cuts. Might have weighed 80 pounds. I was shocked. I had never saw that and did not understand it. A few days later her dad came in. Hugged my neck and said she wanted a divorce and he was loading up her stuff. Said she had to get help. We never spoke again. I do know this relationship taught me much and set the stage for me to be much better in what I hope is my final relationship.

After this I started drinking again. Not heavy but drinking. I was always a quality pool shooter and won many tournaments. So I started hanging out in bars and shooting pool. It actually wasn’t out of control and was kinda fun. I was getting ready to shoot a tournament one night and the bartender had invited her friend in. I was mesmerized. The most beautiful woman I had ever seen. I knew she was the one.

We were married about 6 months later. She changed my life. We soon quit the drinking. Started church. My goals were to please her and make her happy. She was all I wanted. I wanted to buy her things. Give her things. That grin on her face made me warm fuzzy all over. Life was wonderful for 10 years.

But I hadn’t totally dealt with my issues. And they started showing their ugly head. I was a whole lot better but not right. I had never totally let her in. My walls were still up. We had some great times. This year after 15 years of being together I hurt her heart. Badly. I guess this is where my story stops. The last chapter is yet to be written.  But we have committed to working on it and not running like we have done in the past.

I have work to do. I have to deal with the issues that never got dealt with.  I have some good people to help me. A better understanding of what I have to do. And most of all a desire to finish the job. For the first time in my life my loved ones did not totally abandon me.

We are in counseling and doing work. And I guess most important is that I have given my life to the Lord. I am on a new path. I am learning emotions of my wife. I am learning how to remove the walls. I am dedicated to get this right and become a man of God. Lead a Godly household. And finally maybe be an example to somebody. I know God has a plan for me. I don’t yet know what it is. But I don’t have to. In God’s time. I never understood all the people that were not nearly as bad as I was not making it. I suffered guilt over this. I never felt like I was worthy of anything. It took me almost 59 years to get here. I guess the last words are God knew the timeline. God had a plan. In God’s time.